The effectiveness of droid starfighters has been debated in strategic circles for generations. While droid starfighters are capable of maneuvers that would crush even the sturdiest organic pilot, they lack the resourcefulness and cunning that living pilots bring into combat. To counter their shortcomings, vulture droids often attack en masse. Like the ground-based battle droid infantry, vulture droids were, for a time, controlled by a central command ship, but later generations were granted a limited degree of independence. When not in flight, the droid starfighter can transform into a walking mode allowing them to be used in surface patrols.
Hyena droids are automated starfighters equipped for heavy ordnance bombing runs. Based on the slimmer vulture droid design, hyena bombers have a wider, sturdier hull with larger wings to offer greater stability during flight. The droid's central processor unit is contained in its starboard hull unit, from which glows a pair of red photoreceptors. The port hull unit houses the droid's ordnance bay, and has a downward-facing photoreceptor for pinpoint accuracy when dropping bombs. Like the vulture droid, the hyena bomber can reconfigure its shape to adopt a ground-walking mode.
In its earliest ages of civilization, Onderon was a world marked with savage jungles that were filled with dangerous creatures. To survive, the primitive human inhabitants of the planet protected themselves behind the walls of fortified settlements. Over time, these grew to become enormous walled cities, like the planet's capital, Iziz. In the modern era, during the time of the Clone Wars, the planet's monarch King Sanjay Rash allied Onderon to the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Many Onderonians, however, refused to recognize the legitimacy of Sanjay's rule -- they preferred the neutral stance championed by former monarch Ramsis Dendup, whom Rash ousted.
An enormous improvement over the standard battle droid, commando droids are elite warriors too expensive to produce in huge numbers. These stealthy yet powerful warriors are tougher and faster than their clanker cousins. Complex engineering gives them incredible agility, while advanced processors let them think fast on their nimble feet.
Rugged, combat-equipped repulsorcraft, Republic attack gunships rained down blistering barrages of laser and rocket retribution against the droid forces of the Separatists. Each winged gunship was covered in weapons, offering air-to-ground and air-to-air support as well as serving as an infantry transport. The front of the gunship features hunchback-style cockpit bubbles, wherein the gunship pilot and copilot / gunner sit in single file. Chin-mounted on the craft are a pair of laser cannon turrets. On the gunship's dorsal surface are its primary armaments, two massive rocket launchers fed by a rear-mounted missile belts.
In the final days of the Republic, the galactic government had grown so huge and corrupt that any attempt at change required radical thinking and extreme actions. Outlying systems that saw no benefit from being part of the Republic despite paying heavy taxes, began to rebel. This undercurrent of disgust towards Coruscant was seized by a charismatic leader, Count Dooku. The former Jedi rallied together these worlds in a Separatist movement that saw the departure of thousands of systems from the Republic. When Dooku's alliance was secretly backed by corporate titans that offered their unlimited droid armies to the cause, the Separatists emerged as a major threat to the Republic, and the galaxy tipped towards full scale war.